The immediate past Minister of Food and Agriculture, Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto, has clapped back at critics who have termed the government’s flagship programme Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ), a failure under his leadership.
According to him, critics of the programme are being ignorant and must not be tolerated.
However, in his view, despite the initiative’s challenges, it had some positive results, including the prevention of food shortages in Ghana.
Speaking in an interview with Kwamina Sam Biney on Angel FM/TV’s Anopa Bofo morning show on Wednesday, March 22, he said due to the intervention of the programme; there was hunger-free in Ghana during the coronavirus era, despite the hunger menace hitting some countries globally.
He noted that the attribution of the recent hikes in food prices by some sections of the public to the Planting for Foods and Jobs policy is just “hostile.”
The agriculture sector growth, he stated, had declined as low as below 3 percent under the then-main opposition National Democratic Congress government, but the implementations of some key policies during his tenure under the Akufo-Addo government have seen massive growth.
Dr. Akoto supported his argument, saying, “we had an annual growth of 4.7 percent in 2019, 7.4 percent in 2020, and 8.4 percent in 2021.
“If someone tells you that there’s a hike in food prices, so therefore, the Planting for Foods and Jobs is a failed policy, tell the person I said he doesn’t know what he is saying,” the former minister added.
He reminded his critics that the programme included five modules [tree crop, horticulture, livestock, farm mechanization, and the PFJ itself], and to that end, using the setback of one module as a yardstick to judge the entire programme as unsuccessful is unjustifiable.
Whiles bidding for his presidential ambition, the former Minister of Food and Agriculture said when offered the nod as the country’s president, he would provide the requisite resources through the sector and tap the willingness of the hardworking Ghanaian farmer to ensure that the potential of the sector was reaped for the socio-economic development of the nation.
Planting for Food and Jobs
The concept of the agricultural flagship programme – Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ) – policy was introduced by the NPP government to address the declining growth in the country’s agricultural sector.
It was launched on April 19, 2017, at Goaso in the Ahafo Region and spearheaded by the then Minister of Food and Agriculture, Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto, to, among others, encourage Ghanaians to take farming more seriously than in the recent past and aims to make farming once more a respectable and profitable venture and create jobs.